Now that school is letting out around New York State, there's way more hours in the day to fill with engaging, non-destructive, and (hopefully) educational activities for the kiddos. And, if there’s one constant when it comes to kids, it's that they want to touch, well... everything.
While the Hudson Valley is home to a wealth of dairy farms and other agricultural areas, farms that let your children play with the livestock and really get that hands-on learning experience feel like they're far and few in between.
So pack your hand wipes, prep your best Goat Selfie face, and have a camera handy when you check out these quaint critter-communing spots across the Hudson Valley over the summer.
1. The Catskill Animal Sanctuary
This friendly property provides a sanctuary for rescued farm animals and a haven for vegan philosophy. Their site describes the property as a “148-acre refuge in New York's Hudson Valley for eleven species of farmed animals rescued from cruelty, neglect, and abandonment.” They offer weekend tours where visitors get to meet the rescued animals and hear their stories, see what the staff learned from caring for them, and become educated on the difficulty of farm animals’ lives.
There's also a number of guided tours during the weekend and even a shorter one curated to young families. If you purchase a day pass you may roam the property freely and jump on any tour that has room.
Where: 316 Old Stage Road
Saugerties, NY 12477
When: Open Weekends, April through November
How Much: Adults: $12/ Children: $8 (Under two-years-old: free)/ Seniors (65+): $8
Day Pass: Adults: $20/ Children: $15 (Under two-years-old: free)/ Seniors (65+): $15
2. Barton Orchards
What started as an apple orchard has expanded into an amazing agricultural attraction for the whole family. Near the entrance of the property, a barn and gated area allow you to
interact with an array of farm and other animals. Grab some farm feed, provided by the orchard, and take your time visiting the goats, pigs, alpacas, rabbits and peacocks.
There’s even a little bridge where the goats tend to frolick. The Orchard is a dog-friendly area, with its own dog park, and offers a corn maze, ciders, and craft beer for adult tagalongs.
Where: 63 Apple Tree Ln
Poughquag, NY 12570
When: Open weekends from 10am to 6pm until August.
How much: Admission is free during the week and $12 on weekends (visitors under two-years-old are free)
3. Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
- Photo Courtesy of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary on Facebook
- Harvey and Marsha, two pigs at the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary.
This farm-sanctuary houses rescued farm animals in hopes of advocating for both animal rights and veganism, while connecting to the local community. They treat all their animals with love and care as individuals—with each chicken, cow, duck, and many more, having their own name and story. (Example: A rooster named Chickpea was rescued from a rooster fighting ring and treated for an eye infection at the sanctuary before making it his final home.)
While you’re there, feel free to feed the chickens and cows before giving a pig a warm belly-rub. Tours run on the weekends from 11am to 2 pm every hour for no additional charge.
Where: 2 Rescue Road
High Falls, NY 12440
When: Open weekends from 10:30am to 4pm
How much: Adults: $10 suggested donation/ Kids: $5 suggested donation/ Seniors & active military/veterans: $5 suggested donations.
4. Kelder's Farm
- Photo Courtesy of Kelder's Farm on Facebook
- Goat selfies are better than just about anything else on your feed.
This 200-year old family farm provides fresh produce for the local community and fun activities for a trip with the family. After grabbing some grub for your furry friends at the farm market, visit their alpacas, sheep, cows and the farm-favorite donkey. You can also see the honey bees busy at work in their hives at the bee exhibit.
Other unique attractions include produce mini-golf (with real vegetables), bass fishing in their on-site pond, and an apple air-cannon which launches the fruit at 100 mph at targets set up in their field.
Where: 5755 U.S. Route 209
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
When: Open Monday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm
How Much: $6 per person
5. Dubois Farm
With so much to do at this lovely fruit farm, who knows if you’ll have time to pet the animals. Since strawberry season has come to an end, the farm will sadly be closed to visitors until July 12, when peach season returns.
The farm proudly advertises their “pick your own” produce policy, where you can snatch and buy all the delectable produce they offer. After a hayride around the farm grounds, take your kids to their miniature village, “Tiny Town,” to play before visiting the farm animals.
Where: 209 Perkinsville Road
Highland, NY 12528
When: Open everyday, 10am to 5pm, from July 13 through November 10
How Much: Free admission and parking
6. Bailiwick Farms and Riding Stables
The Bailiwick property is home to a Scottish-style castle and over 300 acres of ranch land nestled at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. Since 2007, their four-acre animal park has featured more than 40 exhibits of both domestic and foreign animals.In addition to a playgrounds and picnic areas, the parking offers an area to feed bunnies and other cute critters along with daily educational programs.
Some of their more exotic animals, which you won’t want to pet, include their two Bengal Tigers: Titan and Takara.
Where: 118 Castle Rd
Catskill, NY 12414
When: Open weekends from 10am to 5pm
How much: Adults: $17 /Kids: $13 (visitors ages 4-12, 3-years-old and under are free)